Components of Your Estate Plan
in St. Pete and Pinellas Park
Components of Your Estate Plan in Florida
Although every estate plan is different there are a few common documents that your attorney will likely prepare.
Last Will and Testament
The main document which specifies your wishes, the last will and testament designates your personal representative and their powers, beneficiaries, how assets and property are to be distributed, and can include other important instructions.
Durable Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document which gives someone else the power to act on your behalf. The durable power of attorney allows the designated person, the attorney in fact, to make decisions for you should you become incapable.
Advance Healthcare Directive
A living will and/or designation of healthcare surrogate serve as an advance healthcare directive. This is a way of providing guidance on how your healthcare decisions should be made if you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make these decisions yourself.
A healthcare surrogate appoints a person to make medical decisions on your behalf, it serves as a durable power of attorney specifically for healthcare and only when you cannot make decisions yourself. A living will is a document which outlines your wishes for doctors to follow in your medical treatment – the types of treatment and life-saving care you do and do not want.
In Florida, the most common trust is the revocable living trust. The grantor transfer assets into the trust which offers the benefit of avoiding probate. Depending on your circumstances, your attorney may also recommend an irrevocable trust, testamentary trust, or land trust.
Pour Over Will
In conjunction with the formation of a trust, your attorney may recommend that instead of the Last Will and Testament disposing of your assets to specific persons or entities that you have a pour over will. This type of will transfers all property and assets subject to probate into your trust upon your death. The trust’s terms then control how the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries. This arrangement carries the benefit of reducing taxes and duration in probate for the distributions while keeping property in your name during your life.